I’ve never been in a bordello, but I’ve been told that they are typically furnished in a manner reminiscent of today’s Nice Price or No Dice Cadillac Eldorado. Let’s see if this classic Caddy is priced to ensure a happy ending.
The seller of yesterday’s 2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV described it as a four-door Corvette. At $8,900, it came with an asking price that wouldn’t buy a running four-door and a Corvette, making it an interesting proposition. Unfortunately, a history in some sort of civil service meant high mileage and odd specs on the car. For a lot of you, that just didn’t cut it, but in the end, the Chevy still managed to eke out a 52 percent Nice Price win.
With its CT4, CT5, and soon the annoyingly-named electric Celestiq, Cadillac is one of only two U.S.-based automakers to offer more than one sedan in its range. I’ll save you the trouble, the other one is Tesla. Most of Cadillac’s sales these days are in dumb-old SUVs and crossovers. If that’s what people want, then kudos to Cadillac for evolving to meet that need. Still, it’s a shame that the Cadillac of yore is long gone.
Or is it? After all, just as Bogie and Bacall had Paris, we have this 1983 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz.
The Biarritz was a trim package denoting the top-of-the-line Eldorado and named for the Basque region of France that sits along that country’s southernmost Atlantic coast. Of course, the Eldorado comes from the Spanish El Dorado, or the golden one.
While the Eldorado had been around for decades, it was this 10th generation that really set the sales charts aflame. Sharing its FWD E-body platform with the Oldsmobile Toronado and Buick Riviera, this generation Eldo was the first to show significant downsizing after years of excessive growth. It still has the odd drivetrain layout where the engine and transaxle sit in tandem with power from the former going to the latter via a massive chain.
That engine is Cadillac’s infamous HT4100 V8, which debuted for the ‘82 model year across the Cadillac line and started showing issues almost immediately. The culprit is an alloy block/iron head design that suffers coolant leaks through thermal cycling if not maintained meticulously. Only making about 125 horsepower, there wasn’t a significant tradeoff to that finickiness, either. A four-speed THC325 automatic does shifting duty on the Eldo, actuated via a column lever. That was the only transmission offered at the time.
This one has done 50,480 miles and according to the ad is in excellent condition. That condition isn’t just excellent, it’s baroque to the extreme. The bodywork features lovely Firemist Autumn Maple paint, faux wire wheel covers, along with Biarritz-exclusive chrome fender trim. All looks to be road ready and in impeccable shape.
It’s the interior, however, where this Eldorado’s old-school kink really shows. The button-tufted leather seats look oddly inviting and stand in contrast to the tacky faux wood that adorns the dash and doors. Of course, this being a top-of-the-line Cadillac, it has all the options 1983 could offer, including automatic climate control, power windows, seats and top, and sentinel headlights. Strangely out of place, though, is the digital dash which luckily seems to be functioning just fine.
The car comes with a clean title and the seller’s affirmation that it will turn heads wherever it goes. What might such a head-turner be worth?
The asking price is $22,000 or about what a new Mitsubishi Mirage might go out the door for if you spring for the extended warranty. Which would you rather have? Before making that life-altering decision, let’s figure out if this Caddy is worth the effort.
What do you say? Is this Biarritz worth that $22,000 asking as it’s presented in the ad, HT4100 and all? Or, is that too much to ask for a car that is wildly out of step with current consumer tastes?
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